Panning Techniques

Schools - South Coast Group Lesson On Panning
Schools - Boys Panning For Gold

Panning for gold is quite simple. It is based on the fact that heavier material will sink to a lower level than lighter materials. When a variety of materials such as dirt and stones, and gold  are  suspended in moving water the heavier material  with a higher specific gravity will sink lowest. Once the water stops moving (whether in the gold pan or in a creek or stream) the higher specific gravity material (gold) will settle first on the base ( gold pan or creek bed).

For this reason, it is important to first make sure that the dirt and stones and gold are suspended in the water in the pan for a short time, so that the gold will sink to the bottom of the pan. Once his is done, the sand and dirt sitting on top of the gold can be washed away by repeatedly adding water to the pan, and sluicing it out over the rim of the pan. Some like to use a side to side method, others like to wash forward and back like the tides. At all times make sure that the edge of the gold pan with the ripples is angled down into the water, so that the ripples catch the heavier materials in the pan.

All you need to start with is a gold pan, a shovel and something to keep your gold in. These are provided for our guests to use onsite only, at the water-wheel and panning pond at the Original Gold Rush Colony. It is also smart to have a towel to dry off with.

If you are going to attempt to find gold on your own out of the grounds of the Original Gold Rush Colony you will need to carry quite a lot with you. It is recommended that you have a towel to dry off with, gum boots and gloves if the water is cold. You may also want to take a garden trowel or scoop, a crow bar, mattock or pick or a mash hammer to break up clods.